Missoula Couple's 1-month Old Daughter Survives Open Heart Surge - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Missoula Couple's 1-month Old Daughter Survives Open Heart Surgery

Posted: Updated:
MISSOULA - A Missoula couple can breathe a sigh of relief, after their one-month old daughter survives a battle with a rare heart condition.

Sandi and Dustin Henderson have spent the past two months at Seattle Children's Hospital with their daughter Clara, who had to have open-heart surgery when she was just two days old.

At just one-month old, Clara Henderson has survived more than most people do in a lifetime. Clara has a rare heart condition called pulmonary stenosis.

"The pulmonary valve in her heart was too narrow," Sandi Henderson said.

In short, Clara's blood flow from her heart to her lungs was too slow. Henderson said her doctors discovered the problem when she was 14 weeks pregnant.

Henderson had to leave Missoula to deliver Clara at the University of Washington Hospital, before Clara was quickly transported to Seattle Children's Hospital.

"If we had not been here, she most likely would not have made it," she said.

One day later, Clara underwent open heart surgery.

"They cut her sternum with a saw, and they put her on the bypass machine, and it took about six hours," Henderson said.

Clara made it through the procedure, but her vitals were rapidly declining.

"Her heart rate was way too high and her blood pressure was way too low, and her blood was incredibly acidic."

It was then, that the Hendersons received some devastating news from one of Clara's doctors, they would have to put her on an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, or ECMO machine, if Clara didn't get better within a few hours.

"She said, if we come to you and start talking about putting her on ECMO, it's because she's going to die."

So, the Hendersons stood over their baby's bed all night long, hoping and praying her vitals would improve.

"We talked to her about our family, and the things that we like to do, and the carousel, and Big Dipper because it's the best ice cream."

Then, very slowly, Clara improved. She's improved so much, that the Hendersons can finally return home to Missoula at the end of the week. Henderson says this experience has re-calibrated her family's life.

"You just look at everything differently and your approach, and how to do those things," she said.

Clara will have to undergo more surgeries in the future. The Hendersons also have two other children.

Close friends of the Hendersons have organized a campaign to raise funds for Clara's medical procedures.

Rebekah Little and Amber Johnson say Sandi Henderson is part of their "sisterhood."

Little and Johnson have organized a massive yard sale that starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, and all proceeds will go to the Hendersons. They wanted to support their close friend and her family while they went through such a tough time.

"The emotional and mental struggle to see your daughter suffering like that, but also to be away from your older children and your normal life and your job, and not to know what's going to happen when you get home."

Johnson and Little have also set up the website loveforclara.com, which is connected to a YouCaring.org page for online monetary donations for the Hendersons. On Monday, the duo are encouraging people on Instagram to use the hashtag "#loveforclara" on posts of handmade goods for sale.

Proceeds will go to the Hendersons.

  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Cobell Settlement Checks Could Be Mailed By Fall 2014

    Cobell Settlement Checks Could Be Mailed By Fall 2014

    Friday, August 15 2014 9:03 PM EDT2014-08-16 01:03:47 GMT
    The people in charge of doling out money in the Cobell settlement want to put checks in the mail by this fall.
    The people in charge of doling out money in the Cobell settlement want to put checks in the mail by this fall.
  • PHOTOS: Hobo Spider season has arrived

    PHOTOS: Hobo Spider season has arrived

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:37 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:37:17 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Mid August is about the time that we start to see spiders come into our homes, particularly the hobo spider. August and September is mating season for the hobo and that means you may be seeing more funnel-like webs in and around your home. Males are on a mission to find a female which is why they are a lot more active at this time.
    KHQ.COM - Mid August is about the time that we start to see spiders come into our homes, particularly the hobo spider. August and September is mating season for the hobo and that means you may be seeing more funnel-like webs in and around your home. Males are on a mission to find a female which is why they are a lot more active at this time.
  • Seven Arrested in Kalispell Sex Sting

    Seven Arrested in Kalispell Sex Sting

    Friday, August 22 2014 3:10 PM EDT2014-08-22 19:10:39 GMT
    A four-day online sex sting ends with the arrest of seven Flathead men for sexual abuse of children, and more arrests are pending.
    A four-day online sex sting ends with the arrest of seven Flathead men for sexual abuse of children, and more arrests are pending.
  • 31-year-old Belt woman killed in accident

    31-year-old Belt woman killed in accident

    The Montana Highway Patrol says a 31-year-old Belt woman has died in a single-vehicle accident.
    The Montana Highway Patrol says a 31-year-old Belt woman has died in a single-vehicle accident.
  • Three Cars Involved In Serious Crash In North Spokane

    Three Cars Involved In Serious Crash In North Spokane

    Friday, December 20 2013 1:54 AM EST2013-12-20 06:54:50 GMT
    Two people were taken to the hospital Thursday night following a serious crash in north Spokane. 
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Two people were taken to the hospital Thursday night following a serious crash in north Spokane. It happened at about 8:00pm at Nevada and Cozza just north of Francis. Spokane Police tell KHQ that a red car and a blue car were traveling northbound on Nevada at a high rate of speed when an SUV attempted to turn in front of them. INSIDE>>>|PHOTOS|
  • Fatal Car Accident Near Belt

    Fatal Car Accident Near Belt

    An early morning car accident has taken the life of at one individual just outside of Great Falls.
    An early morning car accident has taken the life of at one individual just outside of Great Falls.
  • Police, Father Search for Missing Missoula Man

    Police, Father Search for Missing Missoula Man

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 2:03 PM EDT2014-08-19 18:03:46 GMT
    Missoula police help family members search for Monte Swanson, 24, a missing Missoula man who is known to hang out at transient camps.
    Missoula police help family members search for Monte Swanson, 24, a missing Missoula man who is known to hang out at transient camps.
  • UM Grads Invention Breaks Kickstarter Record

    UM Grads Invention Breaks Kickstarter Record

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 8:10 PM EDT2014-08-28 00:10:54 GMT
    A University of Montana graduate gets national attention, after his invention breaks a record on Kickstarter.com, a popular platform used to fund creative projects.
    A University of Montana graduate gets national attention, after his invention breaks a record on Kickstarter.com, a popular platform used to fund creative projects.
Powered by WorldNow

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.